On Friday, Google alerted users that, beginning November 11th, it may display their profile photos, names, ratings and reviews in ads that they’re calling “shared endorsements.” There are a number of popular sites that do something similar, but privacy advocates are somewhat alarmed by this development.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google responded to these concerns by saying, “The privacy and security of our users is one of our top priorities. We believe our Terms of Service updates are a positive step forward in clarifying important privacy and security details for our users, and are in full compliance with the law.”
This Isn’t the First Time Google Has Done This. When users click the +1 button (Google’s version of Facebook’s Like button), their endorsement might have appeared in an ad previously. In addition, many other social media sites have tried integrating information about friends and followers into ads, with different degrees of success.
The chart below, based on information from The Wall Street Journal, highlights how a variety of social networks handle social advertising.
Facebook was the first social network to use endorsements in ads when, in 2007, it introduced ads that were tied to friends’ actions, such as a visit to a restaurant or an endorsement of a business. But it has had some backlash on this issue. In 2009, the company was forced to close Beacon, which was a system that automatically broadcast actions (such as purchases) on other websites back to Facebook.
Action Steps for You. Here are several things you should consider based on the developments mentioned above.
- Embrace Change. About the only thing you can count on in digital marketing is change. You can either resist it, or embrace it. I’d suggest embracing it.
- Stay Current. Once you accept the fact that digital marketing is always in a state of flux, you’ll need to stay on top of the changes. I read The Wall Street Journal. You might do that, too. (You might also subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date.)
- Leverage the New Developments. It won’t be easy to leverage the changes mentioned above, but in a future post we’re going to talk about native advertising, which is coming on strong. Stay tuned for that post since we’ll provide some tips on how to use native advertising for your business.
That’s all for now. Thanks for being part of our online community. And, as mentioned, if you’re not already a subscriber to our e-newsletter, just click here and sign up today.
Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with well-known brands and organizations. He is the co-author of “How to Make Money with Social Media” and “Go Mobile” and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.